Lesson #31 – Sin And Damnation

First a declaration:  I don’t plan to define Sin, nor Damnation.  
I am not qualified except perhaps by close association.
I try to make it a point to pause before speaking and hesitate before acting.  Not that I’m Adam before the fall, but I try.  A word once said cannot be unsaid.  A deed once done cannot be undone.  First impulses are seldom the most politic.  Those “Said” and “Done” actions can become a source of Sin.  To correct yourself after the deed requires some moral (or ethical) gymnastics that can be awkward or painful, or downright impossible.  “I’m sorry” doesn’t always quite cut it.  That leads to confession and the scurrilous practice of indulgences.  Good Lord, you can even Sin in your heart and where is the atonement for that?  How much better to pass on that first impulse and spare yourself the grief.

Modern Christianity has a very broad definition of Sin.  The Old Testament is a little more precise (Thou Shall … Thou Shall Not), but the New Testament loosens the net a bit.  The Reformation let open the floodgates.  Judaism tends to narrow the definition in the Torah, reinforced by the Talmud and an almost infinite number of dialogues and exegeses.  The Koran seems to leave no doubt about the nature of Sin.  Humanism almost dispenses with the concept altogether as long as you do no harm to your fellow humans.  I won’t go into Taoism, Hinduism, Jainism, Shamanism, Paganism, or any of the hundred or so other isms.  I confess my ignorance on that score.
There are as many definitions of Damnation as there are definitions of the One True God (or Gods).  Pushing a rock up a mountain.  Having your liver eaten daily by an eagle.  Failing to die heroically in battle and condemned to Helheim, or the more traditional eternity of fire and brimstone.  It all seems to be a cruel judgement.  But those are just some of the many wages of Sin.  The humanist view of Damnation is akin to the Amish or Mennonite practice of shunning, but the humanist tends to be a little more forgiving.  I think you get to return to the fold.
So, where does that leave us?  Sin is a commodity that is easily bought and sold, traded and dealt.  The Bible says that we are born with it and, given human nature, it’s easily come by.  The one thing they all have in common is that Sin is bad and Damnation is a fate to be avoided. 

This brief overview of Sin and Damnation is exceedingly brief, to the point of being frivolous and leaves entire universes of moral territory unexamined.  It is merely the beginning of a dialogue, mostly with myself.  But it is a starting point for the subsequent pieces on Damnation and Redemption, Redemption and Salvation. 

Lesson #31 – Sin And Damnation

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